Police Sketches Via DNA

For assistance in solving crimes, a company has developed a service that will construct a face based on a genetic sample.

Kerry Grens
Kerry Grens
Jul 1, 2015

PARABON NANOLABS INCDNA left behind at a crime scene may help give some idea of what suspects look like, and a Virginia-based company is commercializing that process. Parabon Nanolabs has developed a product that predicts the appearance of a person’s face based on his or her genetic sequence.

“A sketch artist uses information pulled from an eye witness to create a sketch,” Steven Armentrout, the founder and CEO of Parabon, told NBC News. “And our algorithms are doing the same thing with a genetic witness, with that DNA that was left at the crime scene to create a sketch.”

The news station put the “Snapshot” service to the test, sending Parabon a water bottle from which reporter Kate Snow drank. The resulting sketch does not resemble Snow’s facial details, but it got her hair color and complexion right.

Criminal investigators are currently using the technology for “lead generation,...